They made the declarations, yesterday, in Kigali while attending the launch of the book, “Inside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story… and Why It Matters Today.”
Through Hollywood movie, Hotel Rwanda, Rusesabagina comes across as Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German industrialist, spy, and member of the Nazi party, who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.
Indeed, Rusesabagina rides on the fame he gained from the movie, Hotel Rwanda, to tell the world that he used his influence during the 1994 Genocide to save hundreds of Tutsi and other Rwandans who had sought refuge at the prestigious Hotel des Mille Collines (now Hotel des Mille Collines by Kempinski) in Kigali.
But the hotel’s refugees who survived the Genocide after the Rwanda Patriotic Army negotiated their freedom don’t endorse Rusesabagina’s version of the events.
Through ‘Inside the Hotel Rwanda’, Kayihura, himself a survivor from the hotel, tells the story of what really happened during the Genocide and discredits the 2004 Hollywood film that he said inaccurately portrayed Rusesabagina as a hero.
While launching his book, Kayihura said Rusesabagina was more interested in selling hotel services at the Mille Collines than helping the refugees.
He said that access to water and telephone were cut off for the refugees when Rusesabagina arrived at the hotel as its manager.
Kayihura said Rusesabagina would also threaten to send the refugees out to their killers when they failed to raise money for hotel bills.
“Rusesabagina has always been a war profiteer and a friend of those who committed the Genocide. We survived because the Rwanda Patriotic Front stopped the Genocide and saved all of us. We must clarify distortions and misconceptions while we are alive,” Kayihura said.
Some of those who survived the Genocide at Hotel des Mille Collines praised the writer for telling their true story and exposing Rusesabagina’s flawed narrative.
“When I was reading this book, I reviewed in my mind all that happened at the hotel and reading the book it is as if it happened yesterday,” Wellars Gasamagera, another survivor from the hotel said.